Eric Westendorf
Eric Westendorf is the co-founder and CEO of LearnZillion.
May 1

What is Curriculum-as-a-Service? (Part II)


 

CaaS: Why now?

In Part 1, we discussed a new way of looking at curriculum. Instead of thinking of curriculum as a static product, like a textbook, Curriculum-as-a-Service takes a systems-thinking approach.

The three stages of curriculum.png

But why is it important to make this shift now?

The vast majority of teachers now have access to broadband in their classrooms. According to Education Superhighway, over 88% of schools have sufficient connectivity in their classrooms. This is up from just 30% in 2013.

This is great news, but it complicates life for school districts. In the past, when a school district made a decision to adopt a curriculum, the district could reasonably assume that most teachers would use the textbook. Why? Because content was a scarce resource. The textbook provided the majority of the content.

But connectivity changes that. Now teachers have access to any content on the web.  This creates what districts often refer to as their….

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.30.36 PM.png

The job of a curriculum leader is to support high-quality, coherent instruction across the district. This is challenging if teachers are grabbing content from sites like Pinterest.

Looking at the diagram below, it’s now harder to assume that a decision in Step 1 (District planning) will make its way past Step 3 (Planning instruction) and into the classroom.

The three stages of curriculum.png

Where are your teachers getting their curricular resources?

The RAND Corporation recently released a series of surveys looking at how K-12 teachers understand and are implementing state standards. 87% of elementary teachers listed Pinterest as a top resource.

Given this change, districts need to think differently about curriculum. If they continue to treat curriculum as a static product, they fail to address the Pinterest problem. With a systems-thinking approach, they bring this problem out into the open. They recognize that when teachers go to Pinterest, they’re doing so because they’re trying to get a job done. They want to find, create, and/or curate more engaging material.

The district can harness this energy, steering it through a process of planning deliberate, well-crafted lessons:Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.27.41 PM.png

And doing so leads to two positive outcomes:

Screen Shot 2017-05-01 at 1.28.30 PM.png

In a future post, we’ll share one way districts are embracing this process through an initiative called Cornerstones. Watch this short video to  preview the way DC Public Schools harnessed their teachers’ expertise to create these learning experiences.

In part 3, we'll tackle the question: How does CaaS support personalized learning?

Read What is Curriculum-as-a-Service? Part I
Read What is Curriculum-as-a-Service? Part III


Eric Westendorf is the Co-Founder and CEO at LearnZillion

Curriculum-as-a-Service